Research advice

Community Involvement Cycle

When conducting a research project that affects one or more communities, involving them in a meaningful way can add a lot of value to your project. We recommend maintaining an ongoing conversation with the communities throughout all stages of your project.

Question: We recommend starting your project by meeting with members of the community to discuss how your research will align with their interests. This will give you the opportunity to hear the community’s perspective on your research and to develop your research question with their help.

Design: Many community members make their living from the land and therefore understand its landscapes, wildlife, fish, and forests very well. This knowledge makes the Renewable Resources Councils (RRCs) powerful consultants when you are developing your research methods. They can help with choosing the best sites for your work. For example, they may advise you to avoid certain areas due to cultural sensitivity or direct you towards places they wish to understand better. They can also tell you the best ways to access these sites, the equipment required, and direct you to community members who may be available as field assistants or wildlife monitors. Involving the RRCs in the development of your methods can save you time and money.

Methods: Hiring people from the communities to work on your project allows you to benefit from their knowledge of the land. To promote a successful relationship with the communities, we encourage you to stop by their Renewable Resources Council office, visit schools if you can, and participate in community events.

Analysis: The analysis stage can also be part of the ongoing conversation through term reports, for example.

Results: As much as possible, the communities want researchers to come in person to present their results. It’s good to begin with a quick recap of your past meetings with the community so that people who didn’t previously attend are aware of how the community helped develop your research questions. We recommend building your presentation around the questions that were asked by the community. It’s best to only present the most relevant maps and graphs because what people really want is their answer. When covering the analysis, make sure to use plain language and to spend enough time on each part to ensure the audience understands.

In this video, our former Executive Director, Amy Amos, speaks at the University of Alberta regarding the activities of the Gwich’in Renewable Resources Board. She describes the GRRB’s goal and mandate, how we choose our research priorities, examples of community projects and partnerships, and provides advice for researchers who plan to work in the Gwich’in Settlement Area (GSA).